Thermal pollution

Thermal pollution is an increase in temperature that creates undesirable effects over long periods of time. Many types of thermal pollution are confined to areas near their source, but multiple sources can have wider impacts over a greater geographic area.

​Sources of thermal pollution

  • Urban sprawl.
  • Air pollution particulates that trap heat.
  • Deforestation.
  • Volcanic activity, above and below water.
  • The waste heated water generated by an industrial process such as a power generation plant.
  • The release of cooler water from the base of reservoirs into warmer rivers.

Effects of thermal pollution

  • ​Decrease in biodiversity.
  • Aquatic life suffers or dies due to changes in temperature.
  • Discomfort to communities dealing with higher temperatures, and will affect plant-life in and around the area.
  • Wildlife populations may be unable to recover from swift changes of temperature.
  • Depressed dissolved oxygen content in water.
  • Aquatic species overpopulation.
  • Algal blooms.
  • Reduced underwater light intensity.
  • Adverse effects on the egg and larval stage of fish.
  • Give alien species a competitive advantage over native species.
  • Discomfort to local human populations.

Thermal pollution